HARARE (XINHUA) – Zimbabwe on Saturday received a shipment of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses from China as the southern African country ramps up inoculations to battle the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The country is also expecting to take another delivery of vaccine doses from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac next week.
The latest delivery of vaccines from China comes at a time when the country is registering a rebound in COVID-19 cases, prompting authorities to introduce new restrictive measures to curtail the spread of the virus.
According to the health ministry’s daily update, the country on Friday recorded 911 new positive cases, the highest daily number since February.
Speaking to the media at the receiving ceremony of the vaccines at RG Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said treasury has set aside enough resources for the procurement of vaccines. He noted that apart from saving lives, the vaccination drive will accelerate economic recovery.
“But it’s not just about saving lives, it’s about economic recovery because when people are vaccinated, when citizens are vaccinated, it’s easier for companies to operate, it’s easier to do business, and carrying on with business is what will revive the economy,” Ncube said.
He reiterated that the procurement of the vaccines will go a long way in meeting the increased demand for vaccines at a time the country has been experiencing a spike in cases.
Speaking at the same occasion, Deputy Health and Child Care Minister John Mangwiro expressed confidence in the vaccines procured from China.
“The vaccines that are being used are not by guesswork, there is thorough scientific input both from ourselves, our scientists, Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe and the international community. If you check with the World Health Organization, they are registered there, and you can see even the results that are being pronounced everywhere. I am sure you can see that this vaccination and this vaccine is working well for us,” he told Xinhua.
Mangwiro noted that border towns will be prioritised when it comes to vaccine distribution, adding that vaccinations will be mandatory in some public spaces such as markets countrywide.
The arrival of the vaccines is expected to accelerate the country’s vaccination exercise which has so far covered 725,582 first dose recipients. A total of 467,733 people have also received their second doses so far.